In the 2014 SC primary, most counties counted ballots that represented less than 20% of the total eligible voters. In most cases, the numbers were in the teens. Hampton county recorded the highest at 38% eligible voter participation for the highest score in the State, but was certainly the exception. Consider the small representative sample below (for all the data, you can go here: http://www.enr-scvotes.org/SC/51763/133986/en/vt_data.html#Charleston ).
County Ballots Eligible Percent
Berkeley 17,929 104,408 17.17 %
Calhoun 1,533 10,149 15.10 %
Charleston 28,149 247,208 11.39 %
Cherokee 6,338 30,299 20.92 %
Chester 4,185 19,887 21.04 %
Chesterfield 7,044 24,292 29.00 %
Clarendon 3,432 22,642 15.16 %
Colleton 3,646. 23,198 15.72 %
In Charleston county, most precincts reported a total of less than 150 ballots cast, with about a sixty percent majority for the incumbent. This stands in stark contrast to the general election, where Charleston County reported 100,935 ballots of 252,881 eligible voters for a 39.91% participation rate.
Are there lessons to be learned here?
The electorate does not seem to understand the importance of a primary election. Most local people informally surveyed the DAY OF the primary had no idea what a primary meant or even that one was taking place. One self-proclaimed staunch Republican commented that he’d like the incumbent Senator removed from office, but didn’t have time to attend the primary. When he was told that it was likely the Senator would survive the primary if enough voters didn’t show up, he said he’d vote for the “other Republican” in the general election come November!
So, it’s very likely that a dumbed down electorate is a good explanation for this low participation. On the other hand, many reasons for not voting are often voiced by those that do know something about politics. They range from lamentations that their vote does not make much of a difference, or that voter fraud determines the outcome, or that the candidates offered do not inspire their interest, or to “withdrawing their consent” for an unfair system by not participating in it.
And so it goes that relatively unknown challengers continue to fail against incumbents with name recognition. Intelligent third party candidates continue to receive 3% of the total vote or less. And Incumbents survive- no, thrive! And for another four or six years depending on the office, Liberty grows weaker and more dim.
But let’s not argue about the reasons, philosophy, or the “why of it all”. Lets not discuss the old and tired arguments on whether one should vote or not. Let’s get creative and, for one moment, consider things as a seasoned gambler might…as an accountant, a statistician, an actuarian, or as a technical stock investor might consider things. Let’s look at the numbers: the numbers are low.
Are you starting to think what I am thinking?
According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, “high levels of involvement lessen the chances that both parties and politics will be dominated by narrow ideology and interest. Low levels make that result probable.”
Despite what one might hope for the Liberty movement one thing is painfully obvious: that those that seek fairness, reasonableness, independence, self-reliance, less government, more capitalism and freedom, less cronyism and corruption; that those that seek Liberty are a group well-defined, currently, as a “narrow ideology and interest” at the polls.
Our best shot at installing Liberty and Liberty-minded candidates is right now while the numbers at the polls are low. At the precinct level in Charleston, this meant finding 40 more like minded voters out of 1400 voters per precinct! That is very do-able. If the electorate is dumb, asleep, uninspired, let’s be smart, awake and inspired! Let’s take this thing by the numbers. It can only get done with a strong precinct system (an infrastructure) in place. A strong precinct system for Liberty will ensure your candidate gets fair treatment. Let’s start with the reorganization that is rapidly approaching in March.
We need Executive Committeemen, Presidents and other officers for Mt. Pleasant 02, 08, 10, 11, 12, 15, and 17 for N. Charleston 09, 10, 11, 12, and 13 for St. Andrews 01, 02, 03, 07, 08, 09, and 10 for Charleston 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21.